Man Of The Year: Congressman Joseph Crowley - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the March 2003 Juniper Berry Magazine

Man Of The Year: Congressman Joseph Crowley

The Juniper Park Civic Association is proud to announce that Congressman Joseph Crowley has been selected as the 2002 Man of the Year, an award that historically is awarded to the most outstanding leaders in the City of New York. Joseph Crowley was elected to the United States House of Representatives in November of 1998 to represent the Bronx and Queens based Seventh Congressional District. In 2000, Crowley was re-elected with 71% of the vote and in 2002 he was re-elected with 73% of the vote.

A native of Woodside, Queens and standing at 6'4, Congressman Joseph Crowley has dedicated his life to serving the people of Queens and the Bronx. He comes from an Irish family who has always based themselves in Queens. His father was a New York City Police Officer and a neighborhood lawyer, whose firm was on Grand Avenue in Elmhurst. His uncle, New York City Councilman Walter Crowley, paved the way for Crowley to get involved in politics. Many of his more than 50 first cousins have been involved in Queens life from fighting fires to running for City Council.

Crowley graduated from Queens College and was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1986. In Albany, Assemblyman Crowley made his mark as an effective legislator dedicated to improving local education in Queens, passing laws to protect New York's children, improving wages and working conditions and economic development issues. In Albany, Assemblyman Crowley served as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering as well as a Member of the Ways and Means, Banking, Consumer Affairs and Protection, Election Law, Labor and Housing Committees.

In November of 1998, Crowley was elected to the 106th Congress to represent the Seventh Congressional District of New York. The Seventh Congressional District includes parts of Queens and the Bronx including the communities of Middle Village (parts), Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Maspeth, Elmhurst, and College Point in Queens and Co-Op City, Soundview, Pelham Parkway, Morris Park, Van Nest, Allerton, Parkchester, Throgs Neck, and Silver Beach in the Bronx.

As a member of Congress, Crowley has continuously sought to improve education, healthcare, security, and lower crime and domestic and sexual violence for all New Yorkers. He has supported the Leave No Child Behind Act, acquired funds to soundproof schools near LaGuardia Airport, co-sponsored legislation to build and modernize New York City's public schools, and acquired over $10.7 million in new education grants for the 7th district.

For the neighborhood of Middle Village, one of Crowley's accomplishments was announcing on January 22, 2003 that the lost neighborhood known as Elmhurst south of the LIE to Eliot Avenue from 74th Street to 86th Street would now be part of the Middle Village ZIPCODE 11379. Since 2000, Crowley has worked with the Juniper Park Civic Association and its President Robert Holden, along with the Queens Postmaster William Rogers to achieve this change.

Crowley was pleased that finally, after countless meetings, hundreds of hours of work and years of dedication, south Elmhurst, which has always thought of itself as Middle Village in name, would now officially be called Middle Village by ZIPCODE. He applauded the dedication of Juniper Park Civic Association President Robert Holden and countless other Middle Village residents who worked on the project. He also thanked Postmaster William Rogers for listening to the needs of the community and making the change to reflect the overall desire of the community. Crowley's attention to solving constituent problems, such as the south Elmhurst case, has kept him popular in his district.

During his four years in the United States Congress, Crowley has fought for the people of Queens and the Bronx on issues ranging from healthcare to immigration to education. Crowley has fought for women's access to healthcare, co-sponsored legislation to require private insurance to cover annual mammograms for all women ages 40 and over, supported a Patient's Bill of Rights, fought for prescription drug coverage under Medicare, and led the charge in Congress to respond to the West Nile Virus and to continually provide the CDC funding to combat the Virus. Additionally, he has sponsored a victorious amendment to allow the re-importation of low-cost FDA approved drugs from Canada and other countries.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and as the only Member of Congress to lose a family member in the attack on the World Trade Center, Crowley has been committed to the social, physical and economic recovery of New York. Crowley's cousin, John Moran, a New York City Fire Battalion Chief and lawyer, lost his life that day while working to rescue all those trapped in the towers.

Crowley has been a strong supporter of assisting family members and victims of the attacks. Furthermore, he was able to successfully obtained $90 million in supplemental funds to do the medical monitoring of workers and volunteers at the World Trade Center site. Crowley is also a strong supporter of using the employee wage credit as an incentive for businesses to return to Manhattan and all of New York City after 9/11. Finally, he has sought a Federal terrorism insurance backstop, to allow for the continued development and reinvestment in New York City

In October 2001, Crowley authored The Medal of Valor for America's Heroes Act. Both the House and the Senate passed it unanimously. The legislation calls for the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor be awarded to rescue workers who perished while responding to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Crowley's office has helped over 2000 local New Yorkers pursue their dreams of becoming American citizens. He has reunited families devastated by the Colombian earthquake, returned a young Dominican girl who was being held by the government to her grandparents, and made the Cuban government allow the son of a Bronx woman to travel to New York for an organ transplant.

Crowley has improved the quality of education for both his constituents and Americans across the country. He has won numerous grants for the Queens and the Bronx including over $7.9 million in funding to sound proof schools near LaGuardia Airport to ameliorate the learning environment, $15 million for Community School District 30 in the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Woodside and Long Island City, and over $10.7 million in new education grants to the Seventh District, including funding for after-school programs, the study of American history and continuing education. Crowley was a lead co-sponsor for legislation to re-build and modernize NYC's public schools and he commissioned a detailed report in 2001 on the overcrowding problem of classrooms in Queens and the Bronx. Additionally, in his pursuit to make higher education accessible to all, Crowley secured $600,000 for an innovative new teaching program at LaGuardia Community College.

On the national level Crowley is a member of the Democratic Caucus Education Task Force. He has supported HR 1, The Leave No Child Behind Act and opposed the County Provision in NY County, which nearly universally shortchanges children in Queens and the Bronx. He has also worked to make college accessible to everyone by increasing the maximum limit of Pell grants.

Crowley has worked tirelessly to improve the healthcare for the people of his district. He sponsored a victorious amendment to allow the re-importation of low-cost FDA approved drugs from Canada and other countries in the Agricultural Appropriations of FY 2001. Crowley established and funded the position of West Nile Czar to respond to the West Nile Encephalitis crisis, and led a charge in Congress to continually provide funding to the CDC to combat West Nile Virus. He was also the sponsor of legislation to establish a Federal Vaccine office to respond to severe flu and other vaccine shortages threatening the public health infrastructure.

To fight domestic and sexual violence, Crowley co-sponsored legislation to promote the economic security and safety of victims of domestic violence and sexual violence. He has also co-sponsored the Debbie Smith Act to make grants to train sexual assault nurse examiners, law enforcement personnel and first responders in the handling of sexual assault cases to establish minimum standards for forensic evidence collection kits, to carry out DNA analysis of samples from crime scenes and for other purposes.

Crowley led a bi-partisan charge in Congress to overturn VA's increase in co-payments for veterans' 30-day prescription drugs. He was the author of legislation to exempt state and municipal veterans annuities, such as New York State's Blinded Veterans Annuity, from being deducted from Federal VA pensions. This legislation will help thousands of New York State veterans. This bill has been endorsed by the New York State American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Blinded Veterans Association. Finally, Crowley worked with the VA to open a veterans' health clinic in Sunnyside, Queens.

In January 2003, Crowley was selected to serve in the Democratic Leadership in the prestigious position of Chief Deputy Whip. Crowley plans on using his seat at the leadership table to promote sound policies to improve public education, make healthcare more affordable and protect Social Security for working families in the Bronx and Queens. Crowley has and will continue to work his colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to promote the Democratic agenda and win back a Democratic House of Representatives in 2004.

In Washington, Crowley was selected to serve on the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on International Relations. Crowley brings eight years of experience as a member on the Banking Committee in the New York Assembly to the House Committee on Financial Services. Crowley serves on the prestigious Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Securities, as well as the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions. The Committee has become a reflection of the modern state of a dynamic and emerging industry, which employs thousands, and generates billions of dollars for New York City.

In January 2003, Crowley was selected to serve in the Democratic Leadership in the prestigious position of Chief Deputy Whip. Crowley plans on using his seat at the leadership table to promote sound policies to improve public education, make healthcare more affordable and protect Social Security for working families in the Bronx and Queens. Crowley has and will continue to work his colleagues in the DemocraticCaucus to promote the Democratic agenda and win back a Democratic House of Representatives in 2004.

In Washington, Crowley was selected to serve on the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on International Relations. Crowley brings eight years of experience as a member on the Banking Committee in the New York Assembly to the House Committee on Financial Services. Crowley serves on the prestigious Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Securities, as well as the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions. The Committee has become a reflection of the modern state of a dynamic and emerging industry, which employs thousands, and generates billions of dollars for New York City.

The International Relations Committee provides Crowley with a forum to represent the views of one of the most diverse and multi-ethnic constituencies in the country, on issues of international importance to the United States.

Crowley has used his position on International Relations and his co-chairmanship of the Congressional Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs to expand on his past work in Irish affairs. Crowley leads the annual charge before the Appropriations Committee on behalf of the International Fund for Ireland, an endowment dedicated to the social and economic advancement, and continuing dialogue and reconciliation, in both the North and the Republic of Ireland. This year, as well as in Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002, Crowley secured $25 million for Ireland.

Crowley also secured $250,000 for Project Children, a proven program that attempts to promote peace in Ireland by bringing students from both sides of the sectarian divide on the Island of Ireland to the United States to allow these children to learn in an atmosphere where peace and cooperation are of paramount importance. Crowley was also named one of the Top 100 Irish American Leaders by Irish America Magazine for 2002. Finally, Crowley is a strong supporter of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as the framework for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Crowley was also a strong supporter of HR 4483 to halt Syrian support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil, and by doing so hold Syria accountable for the serious problems of international security it has caused in the Middle East.

In order to prevent extremism, he co-sponsored H.CON.RES.432 where Congress express concern about the education curriculum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that fosters a combination of intolerance, ignorance, anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-Western views. In order to extend US trade sanctions against Iran and Libya until 2006, he backed HR.1954.

Since September 11, security has become an important issue for New York. In May of 2002, Crowley submitted a report to the White House on New York City's Homeland Security requirements. He recommended a wide range of initiatives and funding for the City, which he comprehensively outlined in the report. The report stated that the federal government must make New York City a top priority when it allocates funds for homeland security initiatives. So far, Crowley has secured over $20 billion in Federal funding to the City of New York to rebuild from 9/11.

He has also worked to change FEMA's guidelines to allow for the full Federal reimbursement of the NYPD's expenses in relation to the events of September 11.

Crowley supported HR 525 in order to require the President to ensure that federal response plans and programs are adequate to respond to the consequences of terrorism and to establish the President's Council on Domestic Preparedness. Crowley is also in favor of sharing homeland security information between agencies, and has held more than a dozen town hall meetings on Homeland Security throughout Queens and the Bronx.

Locally, Crowley has always been in tune with the needs and safety of his constituents. To protect New Yorkers Crowley sponsored legislation to prohibit people from buying unregulated guns off the Internet, worked to secure $75,000 in Grants for local Queens and Bronx anti-crime groups, and is a supporter of gun buy back programs and background checks on all firearm transactions.

Crowley has also worked to protect the urban environment in the Bronx and Queens. He has secured a Federal grant of $175,000 to repair and reopen the College Point Sports Complex in Queens.

Furthermore, this year he secured over $55 million to combat the Asian Long-horned beetle and to clean up Flushing Bay and Creek.

Lowering Crime in the community has been a priority for Crowley. He worked to secure $75,000 in Federal Byrne Grant funds for local Queens and the Bronx anti-crime groups in the Commerce Justice State Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2002.

Working on community infrastructure needs, Crowley has secured $50,000 for the Long Island City YMCA expansion. He championed $170,000 for Walk-the-Walk an elder abuse prevention center in Queens. Crowley successfully fought for $400,000 for the Neighborhood Enhancement and Training Services, Inc (NETS) in the Bronx for a high tech computer center for local teens so youths have a safe place to congregate off the streets in the hours after school lets out and before parents return home. With Congressman Jerrold Nadler (Ny-08), Crowley has continually championed increases in the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, and this year helped to secure $325 million in federal funding.

LaGuardia Airport has been a large part of Crowley's local issues. He has worked to make LaGuardia a better neighbor to the people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. Crowley was the author of the LaGuardia Airport study Can the Airport and the Community Co-exist? containing a five point plan to alleviate many of the community concerns associated with LaGuardia, including calling for an EPA air/noise quality study. In 2002, he secured $100,000 for an EPA Air/Noise Quality Study in the neighborhoods surrounding LaGuardia. Crowley hosted a LaGuardia Airport Summit in May 2001 in Queens with FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, the Port Authority, airline industry representatives and other community leaders. He is the author of legislation to create an Airport Noise Curfew Commission to reduce airplane noise in the evening and early morning hours. He is also the author of the Clean Airport Bus Act to provide an incentive program for airport authorities to phase in natural gas buses to replace the current high emission buses.

Local transportation is also at the forefront of Crowley's priorities. In February 2003, Crowley held a Transportation Summit in Co-op City to address the transportation needs of his district and New York City. With the help of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), Crowley secured $250,000 for the Long Island Links transportation project to alleviate traffic congestion in that community, as well as to develop a new downtown center for Western Queens. He also secured $500,000, with Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY-18) and Congressman Anthony Weiner (NY-09), for Queens Boulevard for a safety improvement program.

In his first four years in Congress, Crowley has earned a reputation as a fighter for working families in the Bronx and Queens. He has passed the most pieces of legislation of any second-term Democrat and hopes to surpass that during the 108th Congress.

The Juniper Park Civic Association is proud to name Congressman Joe Crowley our 2002 Man of the Year. Previous awardees have included Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor George Pataki, Councilman Tom Ognibene, Community Board 5 Chairman, Frank Principe, New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi and State Senator Serf Maltese.